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Explore the role of hatred and/or grief in any work (or works) of literature of your choice.

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  • Essay length: 2463 words
  • Submitted: 03/06/2005
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University Degree Othello

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4) Explore the role of hatred and/or grief in any work (or works) of literature of your choice.

In their introduction of Aeschylus' 'The Oresteia', Robert Fagles and W.B Stanford include E.R Dodds' assertion that ancient mythology reflected the 'pathology of a culture ridden by its guilt' in the aftermath of many bloody wars and invasions. In Fagles' modern translation, he describes Aeschylus' trilogy ('Agamemnon', 'The Libation Bearers' and 'The Eumenides') as a work in which 'the dead pursued the living for revenge, and revenge could only breed more guilt.' If any other literary piece could satisfy such appraisal, it is Hamlet.

If hatred and grief are the main aspects of tragedy, Hamlet is a tragic hero with a distinctly 'Senecan', flavour. (Arkins) For C. & M. Martindale, 'Seneca was the closest Shakespeare ever got to Greek tragedy.' Senecan translations may well have supplemented the Latin plays studied by Shakespeare at school in Stratford- indeed, Brian Arkins claims that the Greek's influence was 'in the Elizabethan air', and T.S Eliot wrote that 'No author exercised...a deeper influence upon the Elizabethan mind or...form of tragedy than did Seneca.' Cambridge itself was deeply influenced during the period, presenting

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